I Went Down

Director: Paddy Breathnach
Screenwriters: Conor McPherson

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Paddy Breathnach’s I Went Down was without question the hit of this year’s San Sebastian Film Festival. The latest addition to the films of a new generation of Irish filmmakers who have had such wide success in the past couple of years, this inspired comedy shows off the talents of two exceptional actors, Brendan Gleeson and Peter McDonald (new at least to this part of the world) in a delightful and irreverent mix of genres.
When Git (McDonald) gets out of jail, he finds himself forced by circumstances to perform a service for his old boss, Tom French. Joining a completely maniacal compatriot Bunny (Gleeson), Git must take French’s old associate, Frank Grogan, “for a ride.” Grogan, the world’s most talkative hostage, schemes to get out of the mess, and as they traverse the badlands and boglands of Ireland, Bunny and Git become friends, then allies, in the confrontations that await them at the end of their travails.

Playful and self-assured, Breathnach’s film partakes of conventional story lines and creates a very funny, sometimes absurd, plot that hinges on two very uniquely drawn characters. I Went Down is about the flotsam and jetsam of the criminal world, guys who always get the short end of the stick but who persevere to find a course for survival. With an exuberant tone and a rude, even impudent, attitude, this maverick film embraces nonconformity. It is a must see for anyone with a taste for distinctive cinema.

Paddy Breathnach, Director
Paddy Breathnach’s first fiction film won the Cork Film Festival Special Jury Prize in 1991. His first feature, Alisa, won the Euskal Media Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. He established Treasure Films with producer Robert Walpole and directed The Road in America, the best-selling Irish-produced film ever, and WRH, a documentary series on life in a general hospital. I Went Down premiered at Cannes in May 1997 and won multiple awards at the San Sebatian Film Festival and at Thessaloniki.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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